Friday, November 5, 2010

Romanian band plays Gypsy rock against Sarkozy


BUCHAREST — Romania's famous rock band Vama, accompanied by ethnic Roma musicians, released Thursday a single in English criticising French President Nicolas Sarkozy's crackdown on the Gypsies.

The song "Sarkozy versus Gypsy" -- featured on the YouTube website -- aims to denounce "with humour" what Vama calls "the absurd solution found by the French president to resolve the Roma issue," the band's lead singer Tudor Chirila told AFP.

Chirila is a star in Romania and the former Liberal candidate for the presidency, Crin Antonescu, named him as his model last year.

France has faced an international uproar since Sarkozy's July clampdown against illegal traveller camps and the expulsion of thousands of Romanian and Bulgarian Romas back to their country of origin.

The UN human rights chief warned that France's new policies can only exacerbate the stigmatisation of the Roma.

"We're looking for the better way, but you decide we cannot stay", Vama and French slammer Ralflo sing in the name of the Roma before asking the French president: "Hey, hey, Sarkozy why don't you like the Gypsies?".

"The world belongs to all the people. Gypsy people is not people?", the singer goes on, surrounded by gorgeous Gypsy dancers and Roma musicians.

"We also want to show that it is dangerous to generalise when talking about certain groups of people," Chirila added.

The French linked the crackdown on Gypsies to rising crime figures.

"If all the Gypsies were to steal, the Tour Eiffel would disappear," Vama sings with irony before underlining the links between France and the Roma: "Gypsy groove and French chanson. We all play l'accordeon".

Chirila acknowledges that the Roma issue is "complex" but he pleads for a massive effort to improve education among Roma children "from all European countries not only the countries of origin".

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